American English

Definition of stake noun from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



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  1. 1[countable] a wooden or metal post that is pointed at one end and pushed into the ground in order to support something, mark a particular place, etc. Tall plants can be secured by tying them to stakes.
  2. 2the stake [singular] a wooden post that someone could be tied to in former times before being burned to death (= killed by fire) as a punishment Joan of Arc was burned at the stake.
  3. 3[countable] money that someone invests in a company a 20% stake in the business a controlling/majority/minority stake
  4. 4[singular] stake in something a part or share in a business, plan, etc. that is important to you and that you want to be successful She has a personal stake in the success of the play. Many young people no longer feel they have a stake in society.
  5. 5[countable] something that you risk losing, especially money, when you try to predict the result of a race, game, etc., or when you are involved in an activity that can succeed or fail How much was the stake (= how much did you bet)? They were playing cards for high stakes (= a lot of money). With only two points separating the top five players,the stakes are high as they enter the final round.
  6. 6stakes [plural] the money that is paid to the winners in horse racing
  7. 7stakes [uncountable] used in the names of some horse races
  8. Idioms that can be won or lost, depending on the success of a particular action We cannot afford to take risks when peoples' lives are at stake. The prize at stake is a place in the finals.
    pull up stakes
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    to suddenly move from your house and go to live somewhere else He pulled up stakes and went back to Kentucky.
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: stake